Sumner House / AW Architects


© Lisa Gane

© Lisa Gane
  • Architects: AW Architects
  • Location: Sumner, Christchurch 8081, New Zealand
  • Proyect Team: Andrew Watson, Altaire Mandell
  • Main Contractor: Avon Dickie Construction
  • Area: 210.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Lisa Gane

© Lisa Gane

© Lisa Gane

From the architect. The house was the rebuild option for a family of four who lost their previous home further up the valley in the 2012 Christchurch earthquake. The site was challenging with a long and narrow shape as well as being situated in a floodplain, however offered many benefits in regards to established trees and favourable planning rules. The form of the building responds to these site restrictions, environmental factors and the clients brief.


© Lisa Gane

© Lisa Gane

A well-established maple tree in the middle of the site on the northern boundary offered good options for solar design principles – and the house works around that. The building cranks away from the southern boundary and associated recession plane. The form was then angled away from the street to give additional privacy and open up the kitchen and front deck to the setting summer sun. The street elevation also provides great protection from the prevailing easterly wind.


© Lisa Gane

© Lisa Gane

The house presents itself to the street as a single level, however upon entry the building opens up to a double height space over the living area. The kitchen opens to both the east and west deck areas. Bedrooms occupy the rear of the house over two levels. Large openings and overhead windows provide great natural light throughout the day. The maple tree regulates overheating in summer, and allows good low angle sun when it has no leaves through winter.


Ground Floor Plan

Ground Floor Plan

The external material palette is simple, with a mix of black and white-washed vertical cedar cladding, wrapped in a black fibre cement sheet frame to the street. Black metal long-run roofing was chosen for future PVL solar panel application. A backlit polycarbonate wall screens a storage area to the carport.


© Lisa Gane

© Lisa Gane

Internally, the recycled timber floor salvaged from an early 1900’s warehouse is a feature, with the waxed nutty brown creating a real sense of warmth and immediate homeliness.


© Lisa Gane

© Lisa Gane

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